The Greater Houston Coalition for Justice is comprised of about 24 organizations (list attached) of diverse backgrounds that come together within the Coalition through the common bond of creating a world of fairness and justice where the respect for the dignity of all is paramount and where the end goal is a safer neighborhood for our children. In the past decade, the Coalition has earned the respect of the entire community: the neighborhoods, law enforcement, prosecutors, judges and it has become the go to place for solutions whenever injustices occur. The Coalition is on the side of that which is right, and that includes the arenas just mentioned. We defend police and when there is wrongdoing, we advocate for accountability. The same is true with courts and prosecutors. Acting with Conscience should always trump the selfishness of acting out of convenience. What is right is right. What is wrong is wrong.
We have worked on going from Tough on Crime to being Right on Crime. Having said that we are strong advocates for prosecution when harm has been done and there are many who would not have been prosecuted but for the efforts of our Coalition. We have also been advocates for righting our wrongs and have successfully obtained the release of those who should not have been locked up. There is no stronger advocate for law enforcement than our Coalition and we have established exceptional relationships with the Chief of Police, the Sheriff, the District Attorney, with US Attorney and Department of Justice and with State and Federal Judges. We have more cases than what we can handle and thus the need for our Coalition to continue to grow.
In 2015 Greater Houston Coalition for Justice sponsored legislation on grand jury reform. Customarily, there existed a process better known as “Pick a Pal”, a system by its own definition, allowed the judicial process to pick a jury that was to their liking. Our Coalition, having recognized the tremendous injustice that resulted because of this baised system, committed their efforts to right this wrong. Eventually, this law was passed and enacted. Though there is still resistance in its full implementation, it is a step in the right direction for true Justice for all.
Bail reform and prison reform are areas of our laws that we have sponsored. We have a concerted effort to end the cycle of recidivism by working within the schools and prisons. We must succeed in directing the path from school to prison to a path of school to success. We can’t afford not to! We have successfully advocated for reduction in prisons but there is still much more benefits to be harvested with continued efforts. Too often when we have not had good assessments of our students and we cannot handle them, they are sent to a juvenile legal process where they “earn” the title of prisoner and it is in that world where they live the rest of their lives. We do not have adequate rehabilitation preparing them for their release and we have not received them back into society with offering them a second chance. Therefore, they fall back into their unlawful ways. The Coalition is dedicated to end this cycle of recidivism.
When we finish our work, those who belong in prison will be in prison. Those who do their part in respecting others as they would like to be respected will be welcomed members of our society and we will all live in a much better world.